September 8, 2010

The Chapel of Panagia Kakaviotissa on Limnos

This chapel, among the dozens on the island of Limnos, is located near the village of Zemata in the area of Thanos (about 4 km from Myrina). A remnant of one of the numerous monasteries on the island, it is known from 1305, the year it became part of the Monastery of Agia Lavra, when some monks from the island of Agios Eustratios who belonged to the monastery settled in the chapel in order to protect themselves from the Turkish raids. It is located at a spectacular position in a hard-to-reach cave, on the top of a hill among impressive rocks, a location in which in Byzantine years there was probably an early Christian church and hermits.

On the first Tuesday after Easter there is a service at the chapel to celebrate its feast day. On that day the icon of the Virgin known as Panagia Kakaviotissa - which for the rest of the year is kept by a family at Kontia - is brought to the chapel. According to tradition, the members of this family are the descendants of a laborer to whom the last monk gave the icon in question.